May 11, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
The Mental Torture of Millions of Sikhs and Anti Death penalty Campaigners around the World – Why the Professor Bhullar Case has implications Beyond Professor Bhullar.
By executing anyone a country is in effect setting a day in which to commit murder. Any civilised country cannot accept that. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in sovereign Punjab, the Sikh country never condoned the death penalty. That was in the 1800’s.
Now the Nobel Prize For Peace winning, European Union has always been against the death penalty. And in this recent case of Professor Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, every German consulate where Sikhs are based, including diplomats in Germany have spoken to respective counterparts and through official channels to India. Real credit is due to campaigners of all persuasions across the world and Professor Bhullar’s family’s unrelenting campaigning. Sir Graham Watson of the European Union has gone on record, (his speech is on YouTube) within the European Parliament to speak of the potential judiciary murder of Professor Bhullar.
But we hear from Indian channels about the technicalities that even if Professor Bhullar is suicidal that is still not the grounds to stop his hanging. How appalling and how callous has the world really become? In Mahendra Dass’ case of execution, it was commuted on an inordinate delay basis, eventually days back. Yet Professor Bhullar has been denied commutation even on this basis as the doctors get ready to verify when he can be executed.
Professor Bhullar has already served over a life sentence, and over eight years in solitary confinement and paid his dues to a society that (a) could not give him a proper trial (b) could not find evidence against him (c) could not even go according to the law that sufficient doubt had been cast on his case with Justice M. B. Shah finding him not guilty.
Every week, every day there are hundreds if not thousands of elderly, young people, women, men, shedding tears for the man who has come to symbolise all the injustices of the 1984-94 period of Indian ‘law and order,’ which resulted in Sikh ethnic cleansing on a mass scale, massacres of Sikhs in the thousands, mass torture and extra judicial killings.
We hold our breath, we cry, we pray, and this has happened for years, for thousands around the world if not millions over Professor Bhullar. A man whose father and uncle and friend were tortured to death and whose own torture resulted in ‘evidence’, the only evidence against him. A thumbprint – obviously extracted under torture from a professor capable of writing books.
The death penalty is a cold blooded date with murder. When the Indian state goes to make this date with murder and we are left watching, one has to wonder what has happened to decency in the world and what message it is sending to us? I have abhorred the death penalty all my life as have many people. I have followed cases investigated by the Southern Poverty Law Center, USA, that make your stomach turn- someone did not get access to a decent lawyer.
These so called democracies that justify their date with murder- what do they do to us? I would argue millions of Sikhs around the world have been tortured just by witnessing, the injustices of a 1984-94 genocide, with no state perpetrators punished and now this one execution, leaving aside the actual torture of victims there. Professor Bhullar now symbolises for the Sikhs all the miscarriages of justice Sikhs have endured. Just days earlier an accused state perpetrator, Sajan Kumar, is set free, despite eye witnesses, women who saw their families burned to death, testifying against him and now a Lecturer who spent half his life in incarceration, on death row, who in the 1990’s tried to save 42 students kidnapped by the police, a political activist and separatist, but someone who had the right to his political views, is facing execution based on the flimsiest of evidence.
Ironically In Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s case, the two judges in favour of the death sentence observed that the non-unanimous sentence could be a factor considered in the mercy petition process and it has simply not been considered. Prof. Bhullar was laid vulnerable by an inept Indian judicial system which should have given him life imprisonment instead of playing with his life.
The death penalty is sickening and when used with so called accused who have been tortured it is even more so. This terrible mental torture of Sikhs around the world and in India is really unjustified. We must remember that we keep praying for a Sikh, who was devoted to his Guru and in his heart must know, through moving so many millions around the world, that the justice of God, which he believed in holds true, not the tyrannical games played on earth by state perpetrators and serial murderers. We must remember that his story must reach the wider anti death penalty movement and the world in general as this is an abhorrent case in the use of the death penalty.
The death penalty is an evil date with murder and Professor Bhullar’s case a huge trial of error and a case that we must all highlight in the human rights movement at large as we continue to pray that justice is done.
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